On Sunday, December 17, the children’s choir will be performing at a joint service. There will be refreshments available after the service in the fellowship hall.
The Care Committee will be offering punch and cookies in Crichton Hall after the Children’s Christmas Program on Sunday, December 17th. If you would like to donate cookies for this occasion, please contact Connie Mosley (766-7104).
We will have two services on December 24, Christmas Eve. In addition to our regular worship service at 10:30 AM, we will have an evening Candlelight and Communion service at 9:00 PM.
The 100 By Christmas Challenge
Gary Floyd, Jack Findlay and the United Methodist Men are challenging the congregation to increase attendance during the Advent season. Their goal is to reach a combined Sunday attendance of 100 by Christmas eve. Between the English and Hispanic services, we are currently averaging between 75 and 85 folks, so this seems like a very makeable goal for our congregation.
The United Methodist Men are also doing their “No Christmas Tree Sale” for the third straight year. Each man has pledged to contribute $200 to the UMM over the next month, and we are asking others in the congregation to add what they can to this special drive. Our goal is to reach $3,000 (or more) and to add the proceeds to the church’s general fund early in 2018.
Thank You Cards
This holiday season, the church office is challenging everyone in the congregation to take the opportunity to write out a word of gratitude to at least three other people in our church family. This is an opportunity to show thankfulness anytime between now and year’s end. Make sure that at least one card goes to someone you don’t know all that well. If you can’t mail cards, emailing would be a nice substitute. Early in 2018, we will share testimonies about this exercise. Let’s all try to encourage one another during the holiday season.
The RESTORE Food Pantry
Reaches our Community
Over the past three months, the RESTORE Food Pantry has been serving a growing number of families each month. In September, the pantry served 1,240 households; in October, the pantry’s base grew to 1,898 families; and, in November, the pantry provided groceries to 1,946 families.
RESTORE will end its year with a Christmas Toy Store on Tuesday, December 19th and Thursday, December 21st from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM in Crichton Hall. Donations of toys and clothing is need for children 12 years of age and under.
Please bring you donations in as soon as possible.
Following that week, RESTORE will be on vacation for two weeks from Friday, December 22 until they re-open on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Please be aware that Maritza Rivera will be stepping down as our RESTORE director in order to take a paid position with Feeding America Tampa Bay. We want to thank Maritza for her faithful and dedicated leadership over the past year.
We will be taking a short hiatus from Wonderful Wednesday activities on Wednesday, December 27th and January 3, 2018. We will resume our Wonderful Wednesday activities on January 10th.
Pastor Merritt will be on vacation, beginning on Tuesday, December 26th, and will not return on January 10th. Pastor Rick Phillips will be on emergency pastoral call during that period: Rick’s phone number is (813)503-7933.
From Our Pastor
I have spoken to our District Superintendent, and I have sent my official letter of retirement to Bishop Carter. It has really hit me hard, because now my June retirement feels “official”.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to what God has for us as a church family in the days ahead. We really must pull together and honor our awesome Lord by remaining faithful and obedient to Him as we strive to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!”
I want to finish well, and I will need all your prayers and support. I will continue to uphold each of you in my prayers! God’s many blessings to each of you.